Friday, April 03, 2009

The Wonderful Cross- Part Two

One of the great pains of the cross is the shame associated with it. Often we think of Christ as he is depicted in artists or drama's or even in films like the Passion of the Christ. In all modern depictions there has been a cleansing of the drama what has lessened the shame that Christ felt on that Cross.

Christ felt shame for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he was naked. No loin clothe, no modesty rag, naked. Biblical Scholar Morna Hooker writes " Crucifixion was a barbaric mode of execution. Widely practised in the ancient world, it was adopted by the Romans for slaves and for the worst kind of criminal; they also came to employ it in delaint with rebels against the Roman role. Since the victime was stripeed naked and fixed immobile to suffer the torments of pain, thirst, insects and aunts, sometimes for days , it was particularly humiliating, as well as a prolonged and agonizing form of death." For a Jew to be subjected to the public indecency of public nudity was in itself a humiliation.

Christ was further shamed because of the companions crucified on either side of him- each one a thief. They were a vivid reminder to Christ (as was the excruciating pain) that the world rejected him as a liar, criminal, and blasphemer! This shame in itself was compounded by the fact that Jesus viewed his life as a ransom (Mk 10:45) and his teaching as truth from God. The holy man is rejected as unholy; the teacher as a liar; the sinless one as a criminal. In effect he was rejected, and marked out as cursed by God. To be hung on a tree was, as Paul recognized in Galatians, a rejection and an acknowledgment of not just mankinds rejection but of God's rejection of Christ.

Now we know that the shame that Christ bore was the shame for our sins since he had none of his own. His humiliation was for our exaltation. And his bearing of sin was for our forgivness. What a wonderful savior

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